2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by 154537, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. 154537

    154537 Member

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  2. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Re: rule change

    This explains the many of the mysterious happenings over the last few months. Unfortuantely, I don't know if this fixes the situation.

    Some more thoughts after reading all that:

    1. This is portrayed as Global Sailing vs. LPE with ILCA, the sailors trapped in the middle. Does this present the best solution to the sailors? Not the ILCA as an organization, but those of us out sailing on the weekend.

    2. It says that Olympic class status may be lost. I don't know if that's such a bad thing.

    3. I'm disappointed that my Laser class dues are being used to hire lawyers to settle a pissing contest between builders. Again, nothing that really servers the interests of the sailors.
     
  3. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: rule change

    I would agree. Additionally, the rule change (from the link) states "... which requires that a builder of class-legal boats must (among other things) (i) manufacture the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual and ..." then "who build in strict adherence to the ILCA Rules and to the Construction Manual, which is controlled by ILCA".

    So how come there are all sorts of excuses about "the builder" and "the ISAF" when it comes to reasons why the cannot have a new sail. From memory, we were being told that the sail is outside the control of the ILCA and is the responsibility of the builder. But now it seems that the builder has to comply with the "Construction Manual" and that is "controlled by the ILCA" (not by the builder, not by the ISAF).

    Maybe I have misread something here.

    Ian
     
  4. 154537

    154537 Member

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    Re: rule change

    i guess if you prefer weaker competition, then yes, losing olympic status is a good thing
     
  5. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: rule change

    Being an eternal cynic, I note that there is seems some relevant information missing from the proposed rule change. LPE is just one of the builders. Do the others have a valid "design rights holder" agreement and if so, with whom (i.e with Global Sailing) ? And in what way is the LPE "design rights holder" agreement considered invalid compared to that of other builders ?

    My understanding (probably wrong) is that Laser Performance is a merger of European builder (LPE ?) and Vanguard. This implies that both European and US builder had allegedly invalid "design rights holder" agreements but only LPE is identified (so why can't they build under Vanguard's old agreement ?

    I can appreciate that the information for the vote cannot be too lengthy but maybe there should be a link to a more detailed explanation for those concerned. Often legal arguments are complex - some just accept what lawyers say (and then get angry when the lawyers start "I gave best advice at the time from information I had available ..."), whilst other people like to understand more of the details.

    Ian
     
  6. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Re: rule change

    I'd like to find out Bruce Kirby's involvement, if any with Global Sailing.
     
  7. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Re: rule change

    I too would like more information before voting on this proposal.

    1. The proposal talks about three different kinds of rights..
    a) a design rights holder agreement
    b) a building agreement from Bruce Kirby
    c) trademark rights.

    Are (a) and (b) the same thing or different things? In either case do all the current builders have all these rights and agreements, or are some of them in dispute? Which of these rights and agreements does Global Sailing have? Do they for instance have Laser trademark rights?

    2. Why is there a dispute about LPE's rights? How did Global Sailing acquire the rights that they do have (if any)?

    3. If the proposed rule change is approved, what do Global Sailing propose to do? Will they go ahead and form a "Kirby Sailboat" class and start manufacturing and distributing Kirby Sailboats? In what regions of the world do they propose to market Kirby sailboats? Or is it possible that ILCA would approve Global Sailing as a Laser builder?
     
  8. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Re: rule change

    When that competition turns up with an unfair advantage from their coaching staff and other auxilarly support staff, are full time sailors etc then yes. Numbers in our region at non masters events are at an all time low, seemingly because none of us can be bothered turning up when it's no longer an even fight. I'd rather 100 competitors "club sailors" where no one has an unfair advantage than 20 elite full time sailors despite the competition being "weaker".
     
  9. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Re: rule change

    It looks to me as if this proposal serves to extend the status quo, particularly in terms of sails. That will make nobody happy.
     
  10. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Re: rule change

    I totally agree Alan. For an average (and aging) club sailor like me there has always been plenty of strong competition in the Laser class. And I'm not convinced that, even at the highest levels of the class, there would be much difference in the level of competition if we lost Olympic status. Remember, before Olympic status we had the likes of Russell Coutts, John Bertrand, Ed Baird, Glenn Bourke, Ed Adams and Peter Commette (to name but a few) sailing Lasers. I think they would have given even 154537 a run for his money.

    So if the only argument for this rule change was "vote yes or we may lose Olympic status" then I would probably vote "no". Of course it's not the only argument so I'm not deciding until I understand the issues better.
     
  11. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Re: rule change


    That's just silly.
     
  12. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Re: rule change

    "One other possible result of this conflict is that due to uncertainty over ISAF and ILCA approval, there may not be a sufficient quantity of new Laser boats compliant with the ILCA Class Rules available in Europe and other countries in 2011 and beyond to satisfy the demand of its current and future ILCA members. "

    That sounds like a veiled threat from LPE, saying if you don't change the rule, we may decide to mothball the molds
     
  13. 154537

    154537 Member

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    Re: rule change

    if you want to race against club sailors theres plenty of other classes. the whole sport is suffering from low numbers, not just lasers
     
  14. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Re: rule change

    Trying to read between the lines in the ILCA notification, it sounds like the officers of ILCA have sided with LPE, and by changing the rule in the manner proposed, I'm guessing it makes the dispute between GS and LPE pointless/meaningless.

    I think we need to know who "Global Sailing" is, their side of the story, and what their intentions are..
     
  15. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Re: rule change

    We certainly need a better explanation than that summary on the ILCA website. I must admit that I took the comment about the potential lack of supply of legal boats in Europe and elsewhere to mean that, if it under current Laser class rules LPE really don't have the right to build legal Lasers, then any boats they make and sell wouldn't be real Lasers as recognized by ILCA.

    But I could be wrong.

    Is this rule change basically meant to legitimize LPE as a Laser builder, even given the doubts raised by Global Sailing? It certainly looks like this to me.

    But I could be wrong.

    And is it in the best interests of Laser sailors to help LPE out in this way? Or could Global Sailing do a better job for us?

    Of course any Laser class rule change has to be first approved by the Advisory Council (as this one has been.) And nothing gets through the Advisory Council unless the current builders approve it. So is this rule change really about maintaining the status quo of LPE as a legal Laser builder?

    Before deciding to vote on this change I would really like to hear what Bruce Kirby and Global Sailing have to say about it. Is that too much to ask?
     
  16. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Re: rule change

    I can try to answer questions that I know the answers to. The entire issue is very complex, there are agreements that ILCA is party to, there are agreements between the design rights holder and the builders that ILCA is not party too (and has no detailed knowledge of), etc. And, yes, it has required ILCA to seek legal advice in order to help guide what would be the best path forward for the Laser Class, and all Laser sailors.

    The "Design Rights", as I understand it, refer to patents that were taken out on aspects of the design of the Laser. You can't patent a boat, but you can patent some features of it. This was done and they are referred to as the "design rights".

    The "Trademark holder" is the person, in a given territory, who owns the trademarks for the use of the name "Laser" and the starburst symbol - as they apply to a sailboat.

    Once long ago the Design Rights owner and the Trademark holder were one in the same... but they they went bankrupt and during receivership the various pieces were dispersed to the wind (again, this is my understanding). Bruce Kirby, Inc., became the owner of the Design Rights which gave them the right to contract with builders, through a builders agreement, for the right to build Lasers in various regions of the world. Those builders obtained the Trademark rights for their regions.

    In today's world, that means that LP owns the trademark rights for the word "Laser" and the Starburst symbol in North and South America, all of Europe, Africa and most of Asia. PSA owns the trademark rights for Australia, New Zealand and a few pacific islands. PSJ owns the trademark rights for Japan and South Korea.

    Some time in 2009 Bruce Kirby elected to sell Bruce Kirby Inc. so that he could enjoy a well deserved retirement. A company called Global Sailing bought Bruce Kirby Inc. They are based in New Zealand and owned by the same family that own Performance Sailcraft Australia.

    I do not know the root cause of the dispute between Global Sailing and LaserPerformance, nor do I know of any progress in their attempts to resolve it.
     
  17. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: rule change

    I assume ILCA cannot apply retrospective rule changes. And then, when large amounts of money are involved, are we safe in assuming that the rule change will be the end of the story or will Global Sailing be taking ILCA to court over their right to change such rules and their right to prejudice against themselves, etc. and what sort of costs would that involve. What are the probabilities and likely costs of defending subsequent action by Global Sailing ?

    From my very limited experience of legal cases, even trivial black and white cases can get expensive any even if you are in the right you wont always get all you money back. In the UK there is big big pressure from courts on resolution through negotiation and this rule change would seem a quick attempt to bypass negotiation and thus may not be a solution in the eyes of the court (fail to negotiate and don't expect much of your legal costs back if found in your favour). OK, lawyers have advised the rule change as a way forward but their advice will depend on the question they are being asked. Ask them for the "quickest" solution to keep LPE building and you may get one answer; ask them the "safest" route for a long term solution and you might get a different answer - and we don't know what question the lawyers were asked/answering in this case. Don't know the risks and possible costs of subsequent court cases, etc. Lot of background and potentially very important information not published.

    Ian
     
  18. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Re: rule change

    Thanks Tracy. That explains a lot.

    So, are Global Sailing/ PSA hoping to expand their role to become Laser suppliers for more parts of the world? Is this what this is all about? And is the rule change all about protecting LPE's role as the official builder in all their current territories?
     
  19. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Re: rule change

    That is correct. As I understand it, while ISAF authorizes ILCA to issue the plaques to the builders, under the current rules it must do so with Global Sailing's "permission". The change to the Fundamental Rule would allow plaques to be issued, while ILCA would continue to forward the royalty to Global Sailing (as I understand it).

    I believe it allows ILCA to operate without caring about agreements it already doesn't know about. So, LPE is a Laser builder, they build boats according to the LCM that is "owned" by the Laser Class (and it is), GS gets a royalty for every boat LPE builds, ILCA doesn't care about agreements between GS and LPE that we already don't have access to.

    I think the answer here is less clear. Because GS does not own the trademark rights, they can not authorize builders to build Lasers in LP's trademark territories. So, GS will have to slightly change the boat and market it under a different branding. It will not be exactly a Laser.

    Conversely, if LP owns the trademark rights but is not allowed to build the boats we currently sail then they will have to modify the design and sell that. They will be able to call it a Laser, but it won't be the same boat that all of us currently own.

    Either way it impacts ALL of the sailors, in particular those at the fleet level who are probably mostly sailing older boats. Unfortunately, at this point you need to drum up your favorite Donald Rumsfield quote about enemies you know vs those you don't and what army you'd like to have versus what you have...

    It also means the current Laser hegemony over singlehanded sailing is broken and the door opens for something completely different to sweep over the land. Of course, this isn't good for current Laser sailors either since the resale value of their boat will plummet.

    The Advisory Council currently consists of one builder and a representative of GS, as well as the President and Vice President of ILCA.

    I have no doubt that Global Sailing will be presenting their side of the story in very short order. Equally, I would not be surprised to hear LP's side as well.
     
  20. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: rule change

    Trivial, but as PSA are part of Global Sailing, they have (indirectly) approved a rule change to the detriment of Global Sailing's (their owner's) interest ?

    Ian
    (Posted before seeing Tracy's post above)
     

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